In 1927, a black tenant farmer’s wife gives birth to unusual twins—one is dark and one is light enough to pass for white. Growing up to learn that color is worth more than brotherhood in the Jim Crow South, they fall into a trap that was set for them by generations of racial discord. After a violent fight, Joe disappears and Calvin is convicted for his murder.
As Calvin’s life takes a downward turn, Joe basks in the bright lights of New York as a successful white Jazz singer on 52nd Street. After marrying Magda, the blue-eyed girl of his dreams, his fear of exposure takes a turn for the irrational. The entertainment industry is in a cold-sweat panic over Joseph McCarthy’s Blacklist, and Joe feels threatened by the non-stop radio reports of blacklisted witnesses “naming names.” He is unable to break the moth-and-flame hold of black trumpet player Doc Calhoun and his unforgettable wife Pearl, a paradox of wisdom and heroin addiction. And Joe begins to see his brother in the shadows.
Bluestone Rondo is a story of life-and-death choices—a Jazz masterpiece of love and hate that leads to two volatile plot twists and one fatal showdown.
Walker Smith writes in a unique blend of history, drama, and suspense, delivering the most unknown details of our history through the eyes of unforgettable characters. Her novels include: The Color Line, a Harlem Renaissance/World War I epic; Letters from Rome, a Sankofa journey from ancient Africa to Vietnam; and Bluestone Rondo, a racial Cain and Abel story set to modern jazz. Smith also collaborated with music industry giant Jack the Rapper Gibson on his biography Mello Yello.
In Kuala Lumpur Edward Fairfax, a para seconded to Intelligence, is preparing to outwit the elusive enemy. The hostile territory is rife with dangers and seductions from Edward's arch-enemy Ho Peng, to enigmatic Liya, the beautiful girl whom he recruits as a source of information.
As the threat of insurgency mounts and a State of Emergency is declared, Edward is plunged into a brutal jungle war which will test his courage, cunning and endurance - as well as the hearts and minds of the people - to their limits. The risks have never been greater...
Meanwhile, Lucy has her own secrets to conceal. Tempted by love, the lady-in-waiting also bore witness to the one marriage forbidden by the queen.
England is in peril. Queen Elizabeth’s health is deteriorating, her throne under siege. She needs a trusted circle of advisors...but who can she turn to when those closest have proved disloyal?
And just how secure is Lucy’s fate, now she has learned the dangerous art of keeping secrets?
A sense of mystery too. 'Operation Joshua', behind enemy lines, has been a disaster. His father is blamed and threatened with court martial, yet no-one will tell Edward the truth.
A sense also of impending violence. A chance meeting with the beautiful Carole Romm will cast long shadowsinto his future. As the war in Europe ends, another begins in Palestine.
The birth of the State of Israel is to be marked by bitterness and bloodshed. Edward will se action, not on the battlefields of Europe as he had dreamed, but in a harsh land where the enemy is unseen, and where Jewish and Arab extremists have only one thing in common: hatred of the British Empire.
Spain’s defeat leads directly to World War II. For the honor of Spain and self, Doc heads off to fight another war. Meanwhile, Pearl discovers the power of her voice and begins her own odyssey.
By 1946, the war is over and New York is sizzling with the sounds of bebop. Doc returns to find peace in the music, but everything changes when the band’s new singer walks into the club. Her voice is as deep and arresting as her dark eyes, and her name takes up residence in his mind. Pearl.
After a turbulent start, they ease into a healing love and claim Harlem as their small piece of America. But soon a new war is rumbling. As a deadly strain of heroin floods their streets, Doc is targeted by the House Un-American Activities Committee, and Pearl falls under the scrutiny of a stalker with a badge. Doc learns that everything is linked, and must revisit a chilling question he still carries from Spain: What constitutes an act of war? And what is he prepared to do about it?
“A deeply soulful novel that comprehends love and cruelty, and separates the big people from the small of heart, without ever losing sympathy for those unfortunates who don’t know how to live properly.” —Zadie Smith
One of the most important and enduring books of the twentieth century, Their Eyes Were Watching God brings to life a Southern love story with the wit and pathos found only in the writing of Zora Neale Hurston. Out of print for almost thirty years—due largely to initial audiences’ rejection of its strong black female protagonist—Hurston’s classic has since its 1978 reissue become perhaps the most widely read and highly acclaimed novel in the canon of African-American literature.
It is 1918, and Serval Rivard is marching off to war. He isn’t after glory, just respect—despite the humiliating prospect of menial labor in a segregated army. But mounting casualties on the Western Front and a twist of fate result in his reassignment to French command. It is in France that Rivard and his fellow soldiers forever distinguish themselves as “The Harlem Hellfighters.”
After surviving the horrors of No Man’s Land, Rivard returns to his bride and a community on the rise—the literary brilliance of W.E.B. DuBois and Langston Hughes, the pride of Marcus Garvey’s Back to Africa Movement, and the glamour of the Cotton Club. But as heartbreaking reports pour into Harlem of black soldiers lynched in the uniforms of their country, it becomes clear that despite the community’s progress and the military accomplishments of the Hellfighters, America’s racial divide remains immutably in place. For Rivard and his family, the Great War has ended, but a new war has begun—the war of the American Color Line.